Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday.
(photo credit: AMIT SHABAY/POOL)
Likud central committee members will be able to elect the party’s regional representatives to the Knesset, according to a compromise Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepted Monday.
The party’s primary is currently open to all its members, but MK David Amsalem and Likud central committee members proposed that it revert to the previous process, in which the central committee would choose the list for the Knesset.
Netanyahu strongly opposed the change, but it seemed highly likely to pass anyway, because, as a senior Likud source said, “a central committee member would have to be very noble to not vote to give himself power.”
As such, the prime minister agreed to a compromise.
While the Knesset is elected nationally, the Likud has representatives on its list from different regions in the country, who must have never served in the Knesset before to be elected to those slots.
The proposal the prime minister backs is for the first 18 seats – minus two of his own appointees – to be elected in a general primary, and for the central committee to vote for the regional slots. However, all Likud members would be able to vote for the new woman, immigrant representative and young adult slots, who must all be new MKs.
During the Likud’s faction meeting Monday, Netanyahu asked MKs to sign a letter opposing canceling the primary, which Transportation Minister Israel Katz said reminded him of the former Soviet Union.
Amsalem argued in favor of canceling the general primary, saying “the Likud doesn’t exist,” referring to the party’s institutions.
“I’m in the Likud faction room, with a large faction, running the faction, running the government and you’re saying Likud doesn’t exist?” Netanyahu responded.
Earlier Monday, party sources blamed Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman for using his connections in the Likud to promote the primaries’ cancellation.
“Next they’ll blame me for global warming,” Liberman replied. “If Netanyahu has troubles in Likud, that’s his problem.”